- Villa Stgilat Aiguablava, smart Mediterranean architecture by Enric Ruiz-Geli/Cloud 9
Experimental architecture that connects with the Mediterranean setting is feasible if you're lucky enough to have the right client. Well, one of those lucky architects is Enric Ruiz-Geli, born in Figueres, a small town in the middle of the Catalan Empordà, not far from Aiguablava, Costa Brava where his latest work is located. The architect’s client is passionate about the Mediterranean culture and lifestyle, and their priority was for a home that would harmoniously blend into the exceptional natural backdrop.
Enric Ruiz-Geli and his architecture firm Cloud9 took on the brief and addressed this residential project as a case study, referencing architects like Richard Neutra and Charles and Ray Eames who helped define a new concept of living on the West Coast. Their revolutionary use of prefabricated parts helped cut construction costs and opened the property market up to the middle classes.
Along the same lines, Stgilat Aiguablava is a pilot project for housing construction based on a ‘smart’ version of Mediterranean architecture. The cutting-edge technology and the digital and sustainable manufacturing methods used in the project that blends in perfectly with the surrounding nature brings innovation to the Empordà valley and the Costa Brava, considering that the region's landscape and environment is an invaluable asset and a driver of the largely tourism-based economy.
Looking at it from this angle, Ruiz-Geli took a holistic approach to his design, with the clear intention of forging a real connection with the region's landscape, culture and materials in order to shape the project whose architectural style evokes sensory experiences at all levels. The ceramics, the warm Mediterranean materials, the freshness, the sun and shade, the colours, the terraces and the curves of the coastline all inspired and conditioned the design of the Stgilat Aiguablava villa. The architectural element of the Catalan vault - a type of low brickwork arch common to the region, which typically forms a vaulted ceiling - plays a very important part in the composition of this pilot house. Here it was made using advanced fibreglass engineering, which was then covered by ceramics crafted by the artisan ceramist, Toni Cumella so the house would simply and harmoniously merge with the nature around it.
In addition to the main residence, the project for villa Stgilat Aiguablava by Enric Ruiz-Geli/Cloud 9 also includes an ephemeral and experimental pavilion dedicated to innovation and designed in collaboration with the prestigious ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. This college was the training ground for many of the designers from the world of hi-tech. The result is a lightweight structure and windows with natural pine resin filter making it possible to create symbiotic relationships between technology and nature in order to achieve a deeper emotional connection, producing a private refuge where you can occupy a hi-tech environment in complete harmony with the surroundings.
With his Stgilat Aiguablava project, Enric Ruiz-Geli shows that a combination of advanced technology and organic forms that engage with nature can give life to sustainable and attractive architecture. We'd love to see this pilot project setting the standard to enhance the built environment with a stylistic language that you never see at all along the Mediterranean coastlines but which fits in there with great respect for the context.
Project: Enric Ruiz-Geli/Cloud 9
Location: Aiguablava, Costa Brava, Catalonia
Images: Itot Produccions Jordi Alcalà, Gregori Civera, see captions